It's a good problem to have, learning to delegate, because it means your business is doing well and is expanding! When transitioning from solopreneur to team leader, however, it's hard to let go of some of the day-to-day tasks to focus on the business as a whole. Your company is your vision, though, so your time is needed to help the business grow. You can't get bogged down in day-to-day operations, but finding the time to hire, train and delegate to new employees can be daunting! Here are some common thoughts solopreneurs/entrepreneurs have as they consider delegating:
"Other people don't do the work like I would/as well as I do."
"It's quicker to do the work myself than to stop and explain things/I can't take the time to train."
"I enjoy this part of the work and don't want to give it up."
"I didn't like that part of the job so I feel badly giving it to someone else."
"I feel out of touch with the business if I give up too much responsibility."
"Clients are used to dealing with me only."
"If you relate to any of the thoughts above, take heart because you are not alone! Most solopreneurs/entrepreneurs come to the delegating crossroad, so here are tips and best practices to help you delegate with ease and create a work environment built on trust and communication!"
Get to know your employee(s): You have hired someone based on their work experience and skill, but take the time to get to know your employees beyond what's on their resume. What do they like doing? What are their strongest skills? What do they want to learn more about? This way you can play to their strengths and keep things interesting and engaging for them. You may even discover talents you didn't know they had! Time invested in getting to know your employees also builds trust and a solid foundation to help you all as you grow.
Take the time to train: It is essential to take time to properly train your employee(s). It's scary to pause the lightening fast pace you are likely accustomed to, but without proper training new employees are only being set up for failure. Ask employees how they learn the best: do they prefer to learn by doing? Do they prefer to learn by observation and/or studying what's needed? Create a training structure that works for both you and them. Any downtime needed to do this will more than pay off in the long run with less burnout and higher productivity, let alone a happier work environment!
Check in regularly: Setting up an established check-in schedule/team meeting is crucial. Set a frequency that works for you (and them) and stick to it! Put these check-ins at the top of your priority list (even if you feel too busy to do so). This helps to avoid micro-managing, which causes frustration for everyone, as well as the new employee feeling overwhelmed. Build feedback - both to you and from you - as part of these check-ins to keep your finger on the pulse of how everyone is feeling and make adjustments as needed.
Be Pro-Active: If you wait until you are totally overwhelmed before hiring someone new or training them on a new skill, you start your delegating stressed out and behind schedule. Take stock regularly of all the things you are doing and look for opportunities to delegate before you feel panicked. Are there things someone else could be handling that you are reluctant to give up (see bulleted list above)? Review your business plan and proactively hire people to avoid burnout and make it easier to delegate when the time comes.
Communication and Technology: Many platforms exist to help communication and information sharing between employees, and this is especially important for virtual or remote workers. Many of the platforms are totally free and are enormously helpful for tracking tasks/responsibilities (ex: Trello), productivity (ex: Evernote), information sharing (ex: LastPass) and day-to-day communication (ex: Slack). Research what is available and implement them early so processes and procedures are in place as you grow!